Nvidia Unveils Quad-Core Kal-El Mobile Processors

Nvidia said Kal-El, which will succeed its current Tegra 2 dual-core mobile chip, offers Kal-El's accelerated Web-browsing up to 2x the speed of dual-core mobile chips. Nvidia demonstrated Kal-El running on a Google Android tablet prototype, just 12 days after completing manufacturing on its first Kal-El chip.

Nvidia tested Kal-El running CoreMark and received a CoreMark score of 11,352, compared to the Tegra 2's CoreMark score of 5,840 and Intel's CoreMark score of 10,135, according to slides from Nvidia's presentation.

Nvidia is aiming to bring its most powerful mobile chip yet to market slightly ahead of its competitors. Kal-El is scheduled to ship in tablets by August and in smartphones by Christmas 2011, Nvidia said. Nvidia unveiled Kal-El the day after rival Qualcomm introduced its quad-core mobile Snapdragon processor running at 2.5 GHz, which Qualcomm says is due to ship early 2012.

Nvidia also offered a glimpse of its mobile chip roadmap, featuring new mobile processor products each year through 2014. Nvidia said it will offer a mobile processor, code-named Wayne, in 2012, followed by a successor, code-named Logan, in 2013 and, finally, a processor featuring 75x the performance of Tegra 2, code-named Stark, is due in 2014.

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Nvidia introduced its Tegra 2 mobile processor at CES and showcased the processor running several tablet devices. At CES 2011 last month, Nvidia demonstrated Tegra 2 running smartphones including LG's new Optimus 2X device. The updated dual-core Tegra 2 includes ARM Cortex-A9 CPU architecture featuring up to 1-GHz speed paired with an eight-core GeForce GPU, with support for 1080p HD video playback.

Nvidia had been rumored to be preparing a Tegra 3 mobile quad-core product to be unveiled at MWC 2011, although previous reports did not include the Kal-El codename taken from Superman's alias on planet Krypton.